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Today's Topics:

   1. Re: sanskrit Digest, Vol 42, Issue 8 (Anand Mishra)
   2. Re: sanskrit Digest, Vol 42, Issue 11 (kedarnath)


Message: 1
Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2006 17:15:49 +0200 (CEST)
From: Anand Mishra <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Subject: Re: [Sanskrit] sanskrit Digest, Vol 42, Issue 8
To: Michel Bostr?m <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>,
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1

Dear Friends,

I submitt following comments upon the points raised by
Mr. Bostr?m in his last letter.

1. We find following definitions/explanations of
'sUtra' in the literature.

(a) alpAkSaramasandigdhaM sAravadvizvato mukham /
astobhamanavadyaJca sUtraM sUtra-kRto viduH //
(mugdhabodha-TIkA, durgAdAsa)

(b) laghUni sUcitArthAni svalpAkSara padAni ca /
sarvataH sArabhUtAni sUtrANyAhurmanISiNaH // (bhAmatI)

(c) saJjA ca paribhASA ca vidhirniyama eva ca /
atidezo'dhikArazca SadvidhaM sUtra-lakSaNam //

'sUtraM ca bahvartha-sUcanAd bhavati' (bhAmatI)
tatra, sUtraNAt sUtram ....

Now, sUtra is so called, because it joins something.
In our case it connects, joins, 'sews' the thoughts
like pearls in a necklace. Therefore, it is 'sUtra'.
(Similar, is the sense of word 'grantha'). It need not
be something written. The 'sUtra' style of writitng
shows that it was composed primarily for oral
retention. That is why 'sUtraM bahvartha sUcanAd
bhavati', i.e. only the minimum information in a
condensed form with a lot of explanation and exercise
behind it. Therefore we need so many 'bhASya' to
understand them ( many commentaries on
brahma-sUtra). Definition (c) is clearly from the
tradition of grammarians where the types of pANinian
sUtras are listed. (a) and (b) emphasize on minimal
words with an interesting difference. (a) says
'asandigdha' i.e. the meaning should be clear without
any confusion, but (b) does not mention that. Anyway,
the point I want to make is that it is correct that
'sUtra' denotes 'that which connects something', but
it need not be physical pages that should be sewn
together (which is also correct but is a later
development) but the thoughts and ideas. Perhaps, here
I could mention that it is not only grammatical rules
which are 'sUtra' but we have a lot of literature
composed in this style, the work of pANini however is
perhaps the best example. So, the word 'sUtra' does
not in any way necessitates written work.

2. This meaning of 'guru' is another example of
'seeing a meaing' in a word, about which I talked in
the last letter. The verse which comes in
'advayatArakopaniSad' is as follows:
gu-zabdastvandhakAro'sti ru-zabdastannirodhakaH /
andhakAra-nirodhitvAt gururityabhidhIyate //
Here 'gu' is associated with 'darkness' because the
'zabda' comes in many such words like 'guhya' (from
root guh-saMvaraNe), 'gupta' (from gup-rakzaNe) etc.
which connotes 'something which is not clearly,
visibly there'. It is this 'darkness=ignorance'. Then
'ru' comes in words like 'nirodha' (from root
'rudh-AvaraNe') which connotes inter alia
'destruction'. And so 'guru' is the destructor of
Here it may be noted that 'guru' is not derived from
'two-roots'. In fact the normal derivation of the word
is from the root 'gRR'-giraNe or 'gRR'-zabde und
'guru' is 'gRNati=upadizati iti guruH'. Apart from
that, one 'pada' has 'one' root and not two or many.
It can have many affixes. So this etymology of 'guru'
is again a 'philosophical flight' about which I was

Secondly is the question, Can the individual letters
be inflected? The answer is: yes. Examples (in
abundance!) is to be found in the 'aSTAdhyAyI' of
'pANini' itself. pANini's is not only a grammar of
sanskrit, but a grammar written in sanskrit also. And
when he e.g. in rule 8.3.29 says 'DaH si dhuT' (dhuT
be optionally the augment of dental s when it follows
the cerebral D) then he has inflected both 's' and
'D'. So 'sounds' have inflection in the very sanskrit
of pANini itself. 

As to the meanings not being in the dictionary, I can
only say that this tells us more about the dictionary
then the otherway round. The world, any way, is more
than the sum total of what the dictionaries/books

It is correct that the meanings of syllables is not
within the field of 'vyAkaraNa' but rather that of
'nirukta'; but at the same time neither is 'vyAkaraNa'
oblivious to the meaning nor is pANini. Both go hand
in hand.

3. An 'a priori' division of something which is worthy
of scholarly attention and something which is not, is
in no way a scholarly approach. This division could be
motivated by extreme irrationality or by extreme
rationality. It doesn't matter, the effect is the
same. An almost dogmatic faith in the finality of
reason is as hazardous as its opposite. Indian
tradition is not a tradition only of reason alone,
although it serves an important purpose. It would be
sad if modern scholars ignore this aspect. Like the
simile in 'mahAbhArata' they would be only 'like the
spoon in curry' (darvI pAka-rasaM yathA) which
although completely submerged in the curry, doesn't
know how it tastes!!!

With warm regards

Anand Mishra

--- Michel Bostr?m <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> schrieb:

> Friends,
> Shri Mishra makes some very good points below.  May
> I add the following:
> 1) Clearly Panini composed the Ashtadhyayi with the
> intent that it should be
> memorised, so this is a part of an oral tradition. 
> But note that the word
> sutra (with verb form is suu-traya, to tie, cognate
> with the English "sew")-
> means in the first instance a thread or string;
> secondly a book - the pages
> of which are sewn together with thread or string - ;
> and finally a
> grammatical rule.   The fact that the Vishnusutra is
> attributed to Panini
> indicates that his works were composed in the
> context of a scholarly
> tradition that was both written and oral - though
> clearly precedence was
> given to the oral.  If anyone knows why a
> grammatical rule is a sutra, I
> would love to hear from you.  I take it that it is
> because these sutras are
> strung together, but this does not quite make sense.
>  Suerly only the
> collection as a whole should be called a sutra? (I
> hope that I have not
> missed anything here.)
> 2) I have never actually heard about meanings being
> attribute to phonemes -
> only to syllables.  In particular, I have heard the
> one about guru being
> derived from two roots, "gu" and "ru", at least a
> dozen times.  (I am sure
> that someone out there will be able to remind what
> these roots are supposed
> to mean.)  All I can cay is: if you say so, I guess
> that is what these
> sounds mean.  But that does not make them Sanskrit. 
> They are not found in
> any dictionary and, as far as I know, they have no
> conjugations or
> declensions, so they cannot be used in a Sanskrit
> sentence.  Panini dealt
> with the structure of the Sanskrit language - and to
> a lesser extent, the
> Vedic language, where Sanskrit diverges from the
> Vedic.  The meanings of
> syllables lies outside his field of study.
> 3) If a religious or philosophical text uses a myth
> as a heuristic device,
> or a hymn or a mantra as an aid to concentration,
> they can play a very
> useful role for adherents of that cult.  This is
> something that I would not
> disparage.  If other people invent meanings for
> words that are nowhere
> recorded in any natural sentence in Sanskrit, and
> cannot even be used in a
> real sentence, and if they consider this to be part
> of their religious
> observation then this has to be respected.  As
> pointed out Shri Mishra, this
> is a natural outgrowth of the Vedic focus on the
> sounding of hymns.
> Nevertheless, it has nothing to do with the Sanskrit
> language as such and
> does not merit the attention of scholars either of
> language or of
> philosophy.
> Please forgive if I have sounded unduly critical on
> this subject.  I am a
> giant fan of Panini, the greatest linguist that ever
> lived by a very wide
> margin - whether or not he actually composed all the
> works that are
> attributed to him.  I dislike intensely seeing his
> work buried in an
> accretion of trivia.  Also, as you see, I am in
> general rather lacking in
> diplomacy.
> Kind regards
> Michel
> ------------------------------
> Message: 7
> Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2006 21:59:43 +0200 (CEST)
> From: Anand Mishra <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
> Subject: Re: [Sanskrit] sanskrit Digest, Vol 42,
> Issue 2 Panini and
>       letters
> To: Michel Bostrom <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>,
> Message-ID:
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1
> Dear Friends,
> I am a newcomer to your mailing list and am writing
> for the first time. I have been following with
> interest the evolving discussion initiated by
> someone
> in search of the 'meaning' of the letters of
> Sanskrit
> alphabet.
> In this connection the informative letter of Mr.
> Dhananjaya and further the comments of Mr. Bostrom
> are
> noteworthy.
> I, however, want to share the following
> observations:
> (NB: I shall follow the Harvard-Kyoto convention for
> sanskrit because of portability problems with other
> conventions.)
> 1. There is an ancient vedic tradition much older
> then
> pANini which concerns itself with phonetics. This
> stream of learning is called 'zikSA' and is one of
> the
> six streams (vedAGga) developed for perfecting vedic
> recitations and rituals. pANini-zikSA is a work in
> this stream.
> 2. Another vedAGga is vyAkaraNa which analyses the
> language by dividing it in constituting components
> and
> thus giving a description of that language. The
> grammarian provides these constituting components
> e.g.
> prakRti (dhAtu, prAtipadika etc.) or pratyaya
> (affixes) and then prescribes rules which generate
> the
> language from these components. In his aSTAdhyAyI it
> is this task which pANini takes up. Here it should
> be
> noted that the language (bhASA) came first and
> grammar
> later. Language is real ('akSara'=na kSaratIti
> a-kSara, that which does not obliterate) and
> grammatical formulation is a creation of the
> grammarian. He perceives a structure, a system in
> the
> language and explains it through his grammar. There
> could be more than one grammars for a language.
> 3. In this process, it is natural to identify and
> characterize the building blocks of the language.
> The
> normal ordering of the speech-sounds in Sanskrit is
> according to the place of articulation moving from
> 'kaNTha' (velar) towards 'oSTha' (labial). pANini
> (or
> may be someone prior to him, a 'pUrvAcArya')
> reorganized the alphabet allowing the formation of
> sigla and thus enabling a more compact formulation
> of
> rules. Here one must note an important feature of
> Indian scholarly tradition. And it is that a
> traditional Indian scholar, howsoever great,
> considers
> himself to be a transmitter of the wisdom he has
> acquired from his peers and is not much interested
> in
> proclaiming what 'he' thinks or what 'he' has
> discovered. (Patents and copyrights are a gift of
> modern civilizations!). Even if pANini himself is
> improvising this reordering of alphabet, he would
> rather attribute it to lord ziva 's cymbal. This
> story
> tells us more about this feature of Indian
> tradition.
> The emphasis is always on the 'teaching' and 'an
> unbroken continuity of teaching'. So we find
> upanishadic expressions like 'iti zuzrama pUrvezAM
> ye
> nastadvyAcacakSire'.
> 4. At this point we must also reflect upon the
> different styles of presentation of a fact, which we
> meet in the long indian tradition. It is perhaps
> very
> easy to caste aside 'fairy tales' as imaginary
> anecdotes. But more challenging, and in any case
> more
> interesting, is to relate it to the intended idea of
> the author. It is rightly said about indian
> tradition
=== message truncated ===

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Message: 2
Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2006 04:56:01 -0700 (PDT)
From: kedarnath <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Subject: Re: [Sanskrit] sanskrit Digest, Vol 42, Issue 11
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"

                Cambridge closes door on Sanskrit, Hindi
Rashmee Roshan Lall
[ 12 Oct, 2006 2112hrs ISTTIMES NEWS NETWORK ]
              RSS Feeds| SMS NEWS to 8888 for latest updates

     LONDON: Cambridge has finally closed the door on Sanskrit as a hallowed 
subject of undergraduate study, nearly one-and-a-half centuries after it first 
established a chair in the 3,000-year-old language. The Times of India sought ? 
and received - confirmation of the university's decision within hours of 
Cambridge honouring Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with a doctor of law degree, 
in what some scholars believe to be the most cynical form of "tactless academic 

On Thursday, Dr Gordon Johnson, Director of the Centre for South Asian Studies 
at the University of Cambridge confirmed that "Sanskrit and Hindi will no 
longer be offered to undergraduates within the Oriental Studies Tripos". But 
Johnson insisted that "South Asian Studies are thriving at the University of 
Cambridge and an agreed plan for their expansion is underway. Students continue 
to study specialist papers with a South Asian content in History, Geography, 
Economics, Social and Political Sciences, Social Anthropology, Divinity and 
Archaeology ". 

Even so, Dr John Smith, reader in Sanskrit at Cambridge, told TOI that it is 
"not a trivial decision...this is a decision about letting the subject wither 
on the vine. It is an administrative decision but should actually have been an 
academic one". 

Smith, who has taught Sanskrit to Cambridge undergraduates for 22 years said 
the decision was "tactless" in its timing and skewed in its objectives. "They 
are doing this at a point of time when they are honouring Manmohan Singh, 
soliciting benefactions from wealthy Indian businessmen and seeking students 
from South Asia," he said. He said he had no new undergraduate students seeking 
to learn Sanskrit in this academic year, which began a week ago


[EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:  Send sanskrit mailing list submissions to

To subscribe or unsubscribe via the World Wide Web, visit
or, via email, send a message with subject or body 'help' to

You can reach the person managing the list at

When replying, please edit your Subject line so it is more specific
than "Re: Contents of sanskrit digest..."

Today's Topics:

1. New Release of Ganakashtadhyayi (Ver 5.5) (Dr Shivamurthy Swamiji)


Message: 1
Date: Mon, 23 Oct 2006 13:49:01 +0530
From: "Dr Shivamurthy Swamiji" 
Subject: [Sanskrit] New Release of Ganakashtadhyayi (Ver 5.5)
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

Dear Members of Sanskrit List,

I am pleased to announce the new release of Ganakashtadhyayi (Ver 5.5) a
software Sanskrit grammar based on Panini's Sutras. The present version
has many exciting new features. Ever since the earlier version was released
a year ago, a lot of efforts have been put in this new version to understand
and appreciate the ancient wisdom of India especially of Panini's
intelligence par excellence. Panini's Ashtadhyayi is an intellectual fete
and writing the program code for his Sutras has been a challenging task. I
have derived deep satisfaction in developing this software which I believe
makes Panini look alive. Some of the salient features in this version are:

1. New Algorithm for efficient handling of Panini's Sutras.

2. English translation for selected Sutras of Panini.

3. Implemented the Sutras related to all the standard examples of
Sandhis dealt with in Laghu Siddhanta-kaumudi.

4. Implemented the Sutras related to all the standard examples of
nominal stems ending with vowels in masculine gender (ajanta- pullinga).

5. Introduced new menus "Sandhi Navigator" and "Shabda Navigator" for
automatically selecting and generating the results of all the standard
examples found in the Laghu Siddhanta Kaumudi.

6. Newly introduced the tabs - Brief, Detail and Full Details, for
three different modes of Derivational History.

7. Popup window facility to read English/French translation while
browsing the Sutras in the Derivational History.

8. Introduced a new sub-menu called "Clear" under the main menu of
Sandhi and Shabdarupa for removing the current or all the results displayed
on the screen.

9. Provided the facility to print the results of Sandhi and Shabdarupa
including the Derivational History seen on the screen.

10. English and Hindi meanings for about 900 Dhatus of the first Gana in
addition to other Ganas. (Thanks to Sri Narayan Prasad of Pune for the
arduous task of compiling this).

With great joy, I am offering this software as a token of gift to the world
community of Sanskrit scholars, students and admirers on the happy occasion
of Deepavali, the festival of light. You can freely download the software
from our website:

The new version has been successfully tested with Windows 2000 and Windows
XP only. The current version may not be compatible with Windows98. You
must reboot your system after installation.

I would appreciate if you can find time to send your comments/suggestions
[EMAIL PROTECTED] for further improvement of the software.

Wishing you all a happy Diipaavalii

Dr Shivamurthy Swamiji


Sri Taralabalu Jagadguru Brihanmath, 

Sirigere - 577 541, Chitradurga Dist, Karnataka [India]

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